East Asian countries need to make the leap from middle-income to high-income countries, and higher education will be key. The forthcoming flagship report explores higher education in East Asia and the changes needed to make this happen. This site features studies that underpin the report, focusing on: Skills, Innovation, and Inclusiveness.
From the Introduction:
More than 2,000 years ago, one of the first and most renowned universities in the world, Nalanda University, was established in India. This great regional center of learning hosted some 10,000 students at one time and attracted scholars from as far away as Greece, China, and Persia.
In Asia today, governments know that education remains critical to fostering long-term growth, reducing poverty and inequality, and advancing social and economic development. They know that, as the world advances rapidly toward a knowledge economy, higher-level skills will be essential to their national development. Students and their families also know that improving their capacities is essential to their future, which is why enrollments in institutions of higher learning in East Asia and the Pacific have skyrocketed and now exceed 30% of global enrollment.
What they may not realize, however, is that higher education systems are not keeping up with the changing skills that will be needed by the region’s labor markets. Education levels and technological capacity are not where they need to be to take advantage of the benefits that a global marketplace is bringing. The World Bank’s analysis shows that, without structural shifts in higher education, lower to middle-income East Asian countries may hit a “glass ceiling” of development. And other challenges remain. It’s not a given, for example, that jobs will be available for many graduates, that students will have the creative thinking skills that are in demand, that teaching practices will be up to par, or that educational institutions will have enough flexibility to cope with an environment of tighter budgets and diminishing public funds.